Looking for the best Finger Lakes Wine tours? We’ve got you covered! It’s no secret that the Finger Lakes region is one of the best places to visit in upstate New York. With uniquely beautiful things to do in the Finger Lakes, and wonderful places to stay in the Finger Lakes, tourists and New Yorkers return for many years to come.
It’s also not a secret that the Finger Lakes region sits in one of the finest wine areas in all of North America, if not the entire world. A delightful addition to your New York weekend getaway or New York lake vacation, consider one of our featured Finger Lake winery tours listed by lake region below.
Here, we have compiled a comprehensive list of our favorite experiences, from traveling along a Finger Lakes wine trail to choosing from exclusive Finger Lake wine tour packages. Find your destination, and choose your excursion- you will love visiting wine country in the Finger Lakes.
The Finger Lakes: A Wine Tasting Paradise
Excellent wines need the best mixture of “ingredients” to grow grapevines abundantly. A moderate climate is the first, and that is found at the Finger Lakes. A moderate climate means that the Finger Lakes enjoy four seasons, and each season has fairly typical temperatures for that season. Some sub-zero days exist, as well as very hot days, but the majority of the year is spent in milder temperatures. Being near the lakes helps the vines grow, too, as their shallow depth keeps nearby areas warmer than areas without a lake.
It’s worth noting that this means visitors can visit the Finger Lakes at any time of the year. No matter what the season, there are a plethora of interesting things to do, from viewing breathtaking fall foliage to exploring warm summer waterfalls.
The next two ingredients to great wine are good soil and optimal drainage. The soil around the Finger Lakes is rich with mineral deposits left behind by the glaciers that formed them. Seneca and Cayuga Lakes have chalky soil, heavy in lime. Thus, these lower elevation lake areas produce delicious European-style wines. The higher altitudes of Keuka and Canandaigua Lakes are more acidic, perfect for producing Native American grapes. Therefore, you will find the oldest vineyards here. Finally, good drainage, caused by the topography of the surrounding land, keeps vines growing in prime conditions.
Note that these soil and altitude changes also contribute to some of the best hiking in all of New York state. We highly recommend pairing your locally sourced wine with a local NY hiking adventure.
We are by no means wine experts, so, to learn more about wine growing and the wine-making process you will have to take a Finger Lakes wine tour. Book one of our favorite tasting tours below and enjoy a day steeped in history, education, and of course- wine!
Follow the Canandaigua Wine Trail to many wonderful destinations- both for wine, brews, and faire.
Canandaigua Wine Trail Experience
The Canandaigua Wine Experience is the first Finger Lake wine tour to note. This tour through Viator takes travelers on a guided tour of the wineries, vineyards, and tasting rooms surrounding Canandaigua Lake. Your guide will pick you up at the Finger Lakes Casino, located in Farmington. Choose between a half-day or full-day experience, taking you to three or four wineries tucked into the hills around the “Chosen Spot”. These wineries include:
- Arbor Hill. Try the sweet, Vine Valley Raspberry Wine here.
- Inspire Moore. We love the Grace Dry Rose Blaufrankisch and the Love Semi-Dry Riesling.
- Hazlitt Red Cat Winery. Be sure to taste Pink Cat, once called Cabin Fever, a Hazlitt favorite for 35 years.
- Heron Hill, sister location of Keuka Winery. Sip an award-winning 2019 Classic Chardonnay.
- Casa Larga Winery (included in the full day tour). Here, try the award-winning Fiori -8 Ice WIne, made from frozen grapes pressed in frigid weather.
Canandaigua Lake Brewery Tour
Want to sample something in addition to wine during your trip to Canandaigua Lake? Try the Canandaigua Lake Brewery Tour through Crush Beer and Wine Tours. This tour departs from the Finger Lakes Racetrack, also located in Farmington. Try out a few breweries, including Twisted Rail Brewing Co (we love the Lake to Lake Lager), Naked Dove Brewing Company (try the seasonal Oktoberfest if you visit in autumn), and Twin Elder Brewery (try original brews as well as local wine). A full-day tour includes a pub-style dinner to end your day.
Enjoy wine tours near Cayuga Lake by either cruising its cool waters, walking the downtown area of quaint Ithaca, NY, or driving in a local’s Jeep Wrangler.
Downtown Ithaca Craft Beverage Tour
Another excellent tour outside of the Finger Lakes wine tour norm is the Downtown Ithaca Craft Beverage Tour. We love small towns in upstate New York, and Ithaca is one of our favorites. You will meet your tour guide by one of the amazing murals in Ithaca, at Press Bay Court. You will then continue on foot for this walking tour through the heart of Ithaca. Listen to histories and stories of local establishments while enjoying artisan cider, craft beer, Finger Lakes wine, and a cocktail. You will also get to nibble on three food tastings.
While this Ithaca wine tour sounds like a lot of indulgences, it only equates to about two drinks. So, when this tour ends on the opposite end of downtown, you can enjoy a relaxing walk back to your ride, or head back to your favorite establishment for supper and more libations.
Ithaca Wine Tour
This Ithaca Wine Tour is not only about the wine- it is also about the cider and the beautiful waterfalls near the town of Ithaca. For the duration of four hours, you will be transported in a high-roof Ford Transit van or Mercedes Metris to three stops nearby. The first stop is Black Diamond Farm, where you will sample Black Diamond Cider and local cheese after a farm tour.
Then, you will go to Bet the Farm Winery which is located in a big blue barn overlooking lush farmland. Your last stop will be to Taughannock Falls or Ithaca Falls, where your guides will take you right up to the water. This tour will give you a wonderful feel for the area you have chosen for vacation!
Note: One of the best wine tours Ithaca NY, you can also book a private tour with this company. Enhance your tour further by purchasing a premium private tour package, which includes upgraded tastings at each winery you visit- including offerings that are typically not offered to the public.
Cayuga Lake Wine Tasting Cruise
Hoping to cruise the waters of Cayuga Lake with a newly found favorite glass of wine? Look no further than a Cayuga Lake Wine-Tasting Cruise by Bianconi Tours. This six-hour boat tour stops at six wineries, including:
- Sheldrake Point Winery, with a unique library collection of vintage wines
- King Ferry Winery, of Treleaven Wines, family owned and operated for generations
- Long Point Winery, with the best of dry red and white wines
- Goose Watch Winery, with a number of award-winning whites, reds, roses, and sparkling wines
- Bet the Farm Winery
- The Thirsty Owl Wine Company, which has a tasting room and a bistro
You and your guests will love the wineries, as well as the attentive crew back on your boat.
Water to Wine Day Tours (Winolimo)
Another excellent boat tour choice, Water to Wine Tours takes visitors from Interlaken or Aurora to three different wineries in five to six hours.
There are four boats to choose from with this company. The Isle of Skye boat is for private or group tours up to fifteen people. The II Special is for private cruises of up to six people. The twenty-six-foot Panga also holds six people. Lastly, the “Limo” has traveled the globe and now serves as an excellent venue for a small special event.
Bianconi Tours stands out because they offer two wine-centric private charter pontoon boat tours. The first is Wineries by Water, which takes passengers on a four-and-a-half-hour cruise to up to three different Finger Lake wineries.
Their other tour, the Wine and Dine Charter, gets you and your group a seven-hour cruise to three different wineries and dinner in the town of Aurora. Enjoy excellent dock-to-dock service and a day of relaxation on the soothing lake waters.
Cayuga Lake Winery Cruises
Cayuga Lake Winery Cruises are yet another boat cruise to different wineries along the shores of Cayuga Lake. They have three different tour offerings to choose from, though only one is a wine tour. This six-hour scenic cruise includes a trip to three different wineries. This boat tour is special because you will be able to enjoy complimentary water, cheese, and crackers on board, and bring your own beverages onto the boat with you. Note that the cost of wine tastings and meals is NOT included in the tour price.
Captain Jim’s Wine Tour
Captain Jim’s wine tour offers guests room on a twenty-six-foot Wellcraft boat. We love this tour because it really feels like a local, down-to-earth experience. You will visit three wineries, including Goose Watch Winery, Varick Winery, and Long Point Winery. You will also enjoy lunch at the Thirsty Owl Winery. Lunch and tastings are also not included with this tour’s price.
Jeep/Wine and Photo Tour
This Airbnb tour is one for the books. Your local guide will take you on a Cayuga Lake area adventure in their personal Jeep Wrangler. Head to four of their favorite wineries, while the guide takes excellent pictures of you and your guests included in your tour price. A healthy snack, water, and soft drinks are also included in the price, and available to you between wineries in the Jeep.
Keuka Lake is the next place to consider for wine tours upstate NY. Our favorites include driving tours, a boat tour, and personalized taxi and car services.
Keuka Lake Winery Tour
The Keuka Lake Winery Tour is the perfect way to get the big picture feel for this Finger Lakes area. Your driver doubles as your guide as you follow this interesting route. First, you will visit Heron Hill Winery. Then, you will head to Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery. This winery was in Wine and Spirits’ 2019 list of Top 100 Wineries, as well as a 2019 Value All-Star. Try the Rkatsiteli 2020, made from a variety of grapes that dates back to the year 3000 B.C.
Hunt Country Vineyards is your next stop, where we recommend trying the 40th Anniversary Riesling or their new 2020 dry rose. Lastly, sample tastings at Bully Hill Vineyards Winery, a sweet little farm with gorgeous landscaping and lively goats.
Experience! Keuka Lake Wine Tour with Lunch
Another excellent Finger Lakes wine tour choice, the Experience! Keuka Lake Wine Tour takes you to many different locations over the course of eight hours. Transported in a Ford Transit van or Mercedes, you and your group will have more than enough room to travel between locations.
Like the Keuka Lake Winery Tour, you will visit Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery and Heron Hill Winery. Depending on the season, you will grab lunch at either the Bully Hill Vineyards Restaurant or Hammondsport Cafe. In addition, you will visit Weis Vineyards, a delightful winery run by a winemaker born in the Mosel region of Germany (this region is famous for its Riesling grapes).
OnKeuka offers a unique boating experience on Keuka Lake. It works like a water taxi that also provides winery and food tours. Styled as a boutique boat-based start-up, it also prides itself on service and is women-founded, owned, and captained.
Choose from a myriad of excursions listed on their website, including OnKeuka Cruise and Vineyards Breweries Verandas Half-Day Outing, OnKeuka Cruise, and Wineries with Lunch Outing, and more.
Create Your Own Tour Near Keuka Lake with Keuka Taxi
Want to build your own wine tour in the Finger Lakes- on land? Let a taxi service take you where you want to go! Keuka Taxi allows you to choose a predetermined winery or brewery schedule, or work with their experts to schedule your own perfect experience.
Create Your Own Tour Near Keuka Lake with PALS Car Service
Likewise, PALS Car Service and Wine Tours customize each tour to their client. There is no set route, so just work with this company to form the trip you want. They will not only provide excellent service, but also a great extra- a gift bag of snacks and water will be given to you during the tour.
Not traditionally counted as one of the Finger Lakes, Onondaga Lake is very close by just minutes north of Syracuse. However, it is located between Otisco Lake, a part of the Finger Lakes, and Oneida Lake, which is sometimes considered the “thumb”.
Wine Tasting & Making at Lakeland Winery
Even though this area is not technically a part of the Finger Lakes, this wine tour is so unique we had to include it. This Airbnb experience is located at Lakeland Winery, where you can not only sample the wine but make your very own! The host of this tour is the owner of Lakeland Winery himself, Andrew. His experienced staff will assist you in making your very own vintage.
Taking a Seneca Lake wine tour is a must-do if visiting this lake. We love these driving tours around the area.
Seneca Lake Wine Tasting and Tour
On another tour by Crush Beer and Wine Tours, you get a lot for what you pay for. Lunch, tastings, tours, and hotel pick-up are all included in the price. This full-day tour visits the following wineries:
- Fox Run Vineyards
- Ventosa Vineyard
- Torrey Ridge Winery
- Zugibe Vineyards
While at Fox Run, be sure to try the Ruby Port, which feels like drinking velvet and fire. While visiting Ventosa, see if you can have a sip of the 2017 Tocai Friulano, which won gold at the 2021 Finger Lakes International Wine and Spirits Competition. Torrey Ridge has a double gold winner in their Diamond semi-sweet wine, and Zugibe has many additional choices for you to enjoy.
Farms, Flights: Finger Lakes Brewery Tour
The Farms and Flights Finger Lakes tour is exactly like the Seneca Lake Wine Tasting and Tour, except with delightful breweries. Your driver doubles as your guide for this seven-and-a-half-hour tour of the Seneca Lake area. You will visit:
- Bottomless Brewing
- Climbing Bines Hop Farm
- Twisted Rail Brewing Company
- Fleur De Lis Brew Works
At Bottomless Brewing, remember to try 2018 Gold Medal Winner Soda Bread Red. At Climbing Bines Hop Farm, sample beers made of all local ingredients, grown within a five-mile radius of the brewery. Twisted Rail Brewing Company has a Geneva location, in addition to the aforementioned Canandaigua location. Finally, Fleur De Lis Brew Works, nestled into tall trees in Seneca Falls, will be your favorite stop, especially after you try the Raspberry or Watermelon Cream Ales.
Create Your Own Tour Near Seneca Lake with Belhurst Castle
Geneva is one of the cutest towns in New York. It is located on the northern tip of Seneca Lake and deserves a full day of exploring! Include a visit to the Belhurst Castle (pictured above) on your visit to Geneva. There, you can take a self-guided boat tour. Rent a personal boat, and spend an entire day cruising the waters of Seneca lake. Then, return to Belhurst Castle to sample Belhurst Estate Wines, which have won hundreds of medals. If you do decide to captain your own vessel, make sure to not overindulge!
Tours Serving Multiple Areas of the Finger Lakes
Finger Lakes Winery Tours
Upstate New York has many amazing wine trail areas. Many tour companies offer services to your choice of wine trail. Finger Lakes Winery Tours has a whole fleet of vehicles to choose from, including a fifty-six passenger motor coach or an old-fashioned trolley. So, choose your trail and book an experience any size group will never forget. They are also located in Geneva (an added bonus since this is one of our favorite places to visit in Upstate New York).
Quality Wine Tours
Likewise, Quality Wine and Brew Tours also takes you along either the Keuka Wine Trail, Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, Seneca LakeWine Trail, or Canandaigua Lake Wine Trail. With this tour company, you can also book Finger Lakes wine tour packages that include hotels, bed and breakfasts, and more.
Wine Rack Tours
Lastly, Wine Rack Tours’ experienced wine country guides will take you to any of the previously mentioned wine trails. Each Wine Rack Tour is built around their guests’ preferences and is also tailored to smaller groups of two to six people.
Create Your Own Tour Along Your Favorite Wine Trail
Winewagen will take you along the wine trail of your choice. Not only that, but they will take you along the Finger Lakes Beer Trail, and the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail. They have no set itineraries and let the guests completely dictate how long to stay at a winery or brewery.
Man in the Van Wine Tours
Man in the Van Wine Tours mainly focuses around the area of Geneva, and rates may go up the further you get from this town. With an ala carte style to their pricing, you can trust safe and reliable transportation to wherever you would like to go.
Main Street Drivers
Finally, Main Street Drivers operates on the business model of “your car + our driver”. Thus, you provide the vehicle, and they will provide a driver/guide. This is a great option for those who feel most comfortable in their own vehicle, and prefer to stay in control of their tour.
No matter what Finger Lakes winery tour you choose, no doubt you will leave refreshed, relaxed, and happy. Book one of these fabulous tours, and enjoy all the wonderful features the Finger Lakes region has to offer.